The substitution of Chelsea captain John Terry at half-time in the game at the Etihad has been talked about by pundits and fans alike. But has too much been made of the situation? Lewis Addley explores…
Sky Sports pundit, Niall Quinn, went as far to say that the substitution could mark the beginning of the end for Terry and that the former England captain faces a tough task to regain his place in the side.
“I think it could be the start of the end for John Terry,” Quinn told Sky Sports.
“I think he’s got a hell of a battle on now to get back in the team. To be taken off at half-time in a big game, he would be gutted.”Embed from Getty Images
It was the first time the Blues captain has been subbed by Mourinho in the Premier League, the only other occasion he didn’t complete the full 90 minutes was due to a sending off.
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Graeme Souness was quick to deflect Quinn’s comments regarding Terry, claiming it is a ploy from Mourinho to show club owner, Roman Abramovich, that he needs to sign more players.
“I don’t think it was anything to do with Terry’s performance,” Souness said to Sky Sports.
The club have been heavily linked with a move for Everton’s John Stones, who is seen by many as a long-term replacement for Terry, and Souness believes Mourinho was signalling that interest to Abramovich.
“John Terry is still the best centre-back out there. I think he’s trying to force the owner’s hand to go and buy John Stones.
“I think it’s a manager making a statement to the owner, saying ‘I need more players’.”
Statiscally, Chelsea are far better off when their captain plays, winning 11.7% more of their games.
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The Blues have also conceded 0.2 goals less per game on average when Terry is in the side.
Speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football, Gary Neville believes that the manager’s decision was viable and that at 34 these changes will happen for Terry.
“There will be certain games where, as a 34-year-old centre-back, other players will need to start to be phased in.
“My genuine belief is that it’s not the end of the world for John Terry. It was a big shock to him yesterday, and it’s almost like a public embarrassment – we’ve been there.
“But I don’t buy into the fact that his career’s over.”Embed from Getty Images
Former Liverpool captain, Jamie Carragher, echoed Neville’s opinion and believes Terry will be an integral part of the champions’ defence of their title.
“I think Chelsea will get back into the title race, and John Terry will be in there. I think it’ll be the end for him in terms of playing every minute of every game.
“This isn’t just a question of John Terry’s pace and that he can’t run – he’s never been able to run. He’s still been one of the best centre-backs we’ve had in the league.”
The Chelsea boss claimed his decision to sub his skipper was tactical and nothing more and although Terry will begin to be used a little more sparingly the comments from experts in the game speak volumes.
Chelsea’s next fixture is a tough away game against West Bromwich Albion, where they were crushed 3-0 at the back-end of last season. The spotlight will no doubt be on whether or not the Blues skipper will be selected.